There's a groundbreaking musical powered entirely by the human voice. In Transit is Broadway’s first a cappella musical, boasting a creative team that includes Frozen songwriter Kristen Anderson-Lopez and contemporary a cappella guru Deke Sharon. The show’s run is an exciting development for proponents of vocal music, and a prime showcase for actors with unique a cappella singing talents like James Snyder.
Music is an emotional medium, yet we often spend rehearsal time in our choirs focused on notes, rhythms, and precision, rarely addressing the meaning of the music, says arranger and producer Deke Sharon. In the new book The Heart of Vocal Harmony: Emotional Expression in Group Singing, Sharon puts the process of delivering an emotionally compelling performance front and center.
Each month, Chorus America profiles one of our members in our Meet A Member interview series. To mark the season of giving, we changed things up a little bit for December and spoke to a Chorus America donor, Michael Pettry, executive director of the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, who has also been known to be generous with his time and talents. President & CEO Catherine Dehoney spoke to Michael about his latest work with the Symphonic Choir and what inspires him to give.
Podcasts: They seem to be sprouting up everywhere these days. Similar to social media and the smartphone, the rise of podcasts—audio programs released as a series of episodes that you can subscribe to and download onto your device—has brought significant changes to the way we consume our media today. In 2013, Apple’s podcasts hit the one billion subscriber mark.
Every conductor, singer or voice teacher needs a few good vocal hacks. No, we’re not talking mediocre singers; we’re borrowing from the tech world where Merriam-Webster defines a hack as a “creative solution to a computer hardware or programming problem or limitation.”
In the wake of terrible events, choruses and choral leaders have found ways to be part of the response and healing process.
This August, Chorus America released the results of the first-ever systematic look at what moves and motivates the people who attend choral music concerts. In partnership with leading research and consulting firm WolfBrown, the Intrinsic Impact Audience Project worked with 23 choruses across North America to survey their audiences.
At 91, Kansas-born Kirke Mechem has often been called “the dean of American choral composers.” That does not mean he is slowing down, however.
Victoria Buchy is someone you might call an administrator’s administrator. “I’m passionate about the people who work in the arts, who serve the artistic vision and mission that cultural organizations bring to life,” says the Toronto Children’s Chorus executive director.
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) could be the law that puts music back in all classrooms. ESSA replaces No Child Left Behind, the current version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. In terms of emphasis on requirements, it might not be that different than No Child Left Behind, but as for philosophy on reform, it is radically different, according to Lynn M. Tuttle, Director of Content and Policy at the National Association for Music Education (NAfME).
One choral leader described setting a concert attire policy as “somewhere near getting a root canal.” Ouch! We asked choruses—and the choral apparel companies that clothe them—to give us their best advice for making the process as pain-free as possible.
Whether your chorus has 10 singers or 110, what those singers wear matters. The overall look should complement, not distract from, the music and communicate a certain level of seriousness, or as one choral conductor quipped, “not like you just walked in off the street.”